Monthly Archives: March 2011

Rationing

There are certain words that scare people, and so they’re ‘politically incorrect.’  For example, try running for office and telling people in western culture that there might be limits to how much they can have or expect to have…!  You’d never be elected!

How might we actually change our ways?

I’m not great about budgeting when it comes to money.  (I do okay with other things – like time, for example.)  And I think it’s fair to say that budgeting is generally viewed as a good thing – even a virtue – in our culture.

I think that we need to ‘budget’ our collective resources, world-wide.  What of what we have now can we conserve, even ration, so that there is some that will still be here for future generations?  Why is it a bad thing to preserve nature?  Why is it bad to slow, perhaps even halt, economic growth (for the sake of the reality that the world’s resources are finite, even as we may think we can keep printing money and that we can turn everything into money)?

There’s a Cree proverb which addresses this: “Only when the last tree has died, the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught, will we realize that we cannot eat money.”

In Canada, we’re now gearing up for a federal election – it’s official.  How can we question candidates so that they consider future peoples beyond their term in office?  (…which, with this being the fourth general election in seven years, isn’t very long these days!)

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Changing What We Take For Granted

On my way home, at the end of the day, today, I saw an older gentleman standing on the side of the road (maybe 60ish) with a backpack, apparently waiting for a ride.  It seemed a bit odd to me.  I was driving myself home in my own car – sort of doing what many might consider “the normal thing.”  …grow up, have a job, have a car, drive one’s-self wherever one wants to go – that’s “independence” and the normal thing for most adults in 21st Century North American culture.

Then I started to think… what about those other things we ‘expect’ – things like a cell phone, a short line-up at the store, a daily shower or flushing after every minor toilet use (!)…

It was World Water Day yesterday, and I was watching a few clips of Maude Barlow online.  One of the statements she makes is that we have to change how we’ve viewed things until now.  Water resources – like everything – are finite, and we can’t expect things to just be there for us always.

What’s wrong with the picture of the older fellow waiting for a ride?  There shouldn’t be anything wrong with it.  I should do my best to carpool, to have the time to wait, to not expect to drive myself everywhere.  And I should be conscious of those little decisions daily that add up and, when we’re all making those choices (to drive ourselves, to run water wastefully, to have all the new gadgets…), we’re making a choice for the future.  We really can’t go on like this.  There are many of us on this planet, and only so many resources.

We can, collectively, choose to be less wasteful with food.  We can, collectively, call on our representatives in government to pass legislation that requires corporations to be environmentally conscious.  We can, collectively, as consumers, choose to consume less oil-dependent (for transportation, for manufacturing, or plastic) products.

It’s hard.  We have to live differently than our parents or grand-parents did – and we tend to gravitate to what we’ve been taught by their example.  But we can do it!  For the sake of everyone everywhere, we must do it.

Changing what we take for granted starts with you.  It starts with me.

March, 2011 – Paradox newsletter

(IT’S THE ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THIS BLOG!!)

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From the Pastor…

When the poor ones who have nothing still are giving; when the thirsty pass the cup, water to share; when the wounded offer others strength and healing: We see God, here by our side, walking our way. (Worship hymnal #725)

As we look to the future of our congregation at our congregational meeting this month, and as we enter into the season of Lent, we must consider how what we believe and value affects our living and our relating.

I am grateful for the people of this congregation who have made our community a priority in their daily, weekly, monthly, annual routines – these faithful folks keep our congregation alive!  I acknowledge with gratitude those who give generously from their resources, however great or small, to keep the ministry of All Saints going.

Communities of faith are built in different ways.  Our Lutheran model has, for a long time, seemed to believe that by putting a Lutheran pastor in an area, people will gravitate to whatever meeting place is chosen and, within a few years, a church is formed.  I’ve heard that Muslim communities, by contrast, do not call an Imam to serve them until they have grown to a size to afford an Imam’s salary.

This community of faith of which we’re all a part will not be like other churches.  We are not continuing in the institution-building style that the church catholic has built up over centuries; we question that “Christendom” model which seeks to impose certain out-dated doctrines that exclude and make conditional God’s grace.  This community of faith will be formed on the generous and hospitable manner of the people who make up this gathering.  We are generous and hospitable because we have received abundantly and have been welcomed hospitably, ourselves.  From a place where we lack nothing, we can be gracious! -Pastor Tyler Gingrich

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THANK YOU…

– to Karen for co-ordinating much of our Souper Sunday for February

– to Darlene for generously hosting and assisting in recent weeks

– to Cathryn for setting up Communion

– to Vern for the insight-filled introductions to the readings

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PROPHETIC WORDS FOR OUR DAY…

I found some astonishing things in the course of my study that had never occurred to me. Frankly, in the days that when I thought I’d had it with religion, I just found the whole thing absolutely incredible. These doctrines seemed unproven, abstract. And to my astonishment, when I began seriously studying other traditions, I began to realize that belief — which we make such a fuss about today — is only a very recent religious enthusiasm that surfaced only in the West, in about the 17th century. The word “belief” itself originally meant to love, to prize, to hold dear. In the 17th century, it narrowed its focus, for reasons that I’m exploring in a book I’m writing at the moment, to include — to mean an intellectual assent to a set of propositions, a credo. “I believe” — it did no mean “I accept certain creedal articles of faith.” It meant: “I commit myself. I engage myself.” Indeed, some of the world traditions think very little of religious orthodoxy. In the Qur’an, religious opinion — religious orthodoxy — is dismissed as zanna: self-indulgent guesswork about matters that nobody can be certain of one way or the other, but which makes people quarrelsome and stupidly sectarian. (Laughter)So if religion is not about believing things, what is it about? What I’ve found, across the board, is that religion is about behaving differently. Instead of deciding whether or not you believe in God, first you to do something. You behave in a committed way, And then you begin to understand the truths of religion. And religious doctrines are meant to be summons to action; you only understand them when you put them into practice. (Karen Armstrong, TED Talks – Feb, 2008, TED Prize winner)

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The great crisis among us is the crisis of “the common good,” the sense of community solidarity that binds all in a common destiny – haves and have-nots, the rich and the poor. We face a crisis about the common good because there are powerful forces at work among us to resist the common good, to violate community solidarity, and to deny a common destiny. Mature people, at their best, are people who are committed to the common good that reaches beyond private interest, transcends sectarian commitments, and offers human solidarity.

(Walter Brueggemann, Journey to the Common Good, p. 1)

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“Atheism for Lent”

During our community gathering time in the season of Lent, we will, again, discuss how our faith fits into religions of the world, and we will hold our faith up to some scrutiny, as well.  Bring your ideas and let’s talk about what we believe and hold dear!

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Looking ahead…April 17 – Souper Sunday

April 22 – Good Friday Way of the Cross Walk

April 24 – Easter Sunday

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“Be the change you want to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi
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Worship Leaders in March
Lectors…
March 6 – Wally K; March 9 – ________; March 13 – Lynette S; March 27 – __________
Hosts…
March 6 – Batke; March 13 – Stebner; March 20 – Whiteman, Mcintosh, Gingrich; March 27 – Denney
Liturgists…
March 6 – Cathryn; March 9 – Karen; March 13 – Darlene; March 27 – Darlene
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See our calendar page for programming!